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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE REFORMATION AND EDUCATION      195

and the easier parts of Virgil will find place."* Melanchthon, it
will be seen, did not actually attach any importance to grammar
for its own sake, but the sharp demarcation of grammatical from
literary study was fraught with dangerous possibilities in educa-
tional practice. For its successful application it presupposed
such an interest in the ancients as animated Melanchthon himself.
When that interest was lacking, as it often was among his
successors, the inevitable result was the formal treatment of lan-
guage as an end in itself in divorce from the actualities of life.

The tendency to degenerate into formalism, inherent in
northern humanism, is clearly evident in the work of Mel-
anchthon's younger contemporary and friend, John Sturm
(1507-1589). As a boy Sturm was a pupil in the school of the
Brethren of the Common Life at Liege; and when he became
rector of the gymnasium established at Strassburg in 1537,
after a successful career as student and lecturer at Louvain
and Paris, he organized the school on the model of Liege. The
pupils were grouped in a series of classes according to their
fitness, promotions from one class to another were made annually
with solemn ceremony, the classes were subdivided into sections
of ten under the charge of an older pupil called a decurion, and
prizes were given for industry and good conduct. The chief
difference was that the gymnasial course was rather more ex-
tended—there were at first nine classes and subsequently ten,
for pupils from six to fifteen—and that a more loosely organized
higher course lasting for five years, which ultimately developed
into a university, was superimposed on the ordinary school course.
Following the example of Hegius, Sturm worked out the subjects
and methods for each year in detail, first in a Book on the Right
Method of Founding Schools for Literary Education (De liter arum
hidzs recte aperiendis liber), at the opening of the school in 1537,
and twenty-eight years later in the Class Letters, written for the
guidance of his teachers. This elaborate organization, backed
by the strong personality of the man, had a very great effect on
the development of higher education in Saxony and Wiirtemberg,
and even farther afield. Partly through the influence of his pupils,
who came from various countries and numbered in their ranks
a great number of boys of noble birth, partly as a direct result
of the advice given by Sturm to those who consulted him about
* Woodward, Education during the Renaissance^ p. 224.